10 August 2022
Christian bible says ‘seek and you shall find’. Yesterday I read the article headed ‘600 articles over 11 years: What did they tell the reading public and policymakers?’ at https://www.ft.lk/columns/600-articles-over-11-years-What-did-they-tell-the-reading-public-and-policymakers/4-738412
I thought about it positively. This morning, I found its institutional parallel headed ‘What now for the media?’ at https://www.dailymirror.lk/opinion/What-now-for-the-media/231-242752
I sought and I found someone who was also dissatisfied with the media’s handling of the Sri Lankan Protests.
Mr Amantha Perera begins with the following:
iconic GotaGoGama is winding down. The crowds have thinned out. The WhatsApp
messages that used to flood the inbox have dried out. The foreign journalists who were so much of a
concerned feature of the Aragalaya coverage have left. The short-term fixing gigs have
slowed down. You wake up and suddenly the overlay of working intensity has
dialled down a bit but the uncertainty of what lies next as a citizen of Sri
The ‘foreign journalists include the likes of Australian ABC, whose mind also seems to have‘left’ the Sri Lankan issue. But I have not left. I have been writing for about 20 years with my main focus being as Sri Lankan. The total exceed 6000.
Mr W A Wijewardene, the author of ‘600 articles over 11 years……’ is presented by the publishers as follows:
‘The writer, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, can be reached at …..’
The author of other article, Mr Amantha Perera, is presented as follows:
‘The writer is a journalism researcher and a writer. He can be contacted at ………’
In contrast, I come without a package. This could mean that I am a frivolous writer or that I am a philosophical writer. I get responses on the basis of both. But to me, my best reader is myself. I first bring the target audience into myself as the faceless ‘common reader’. When I feel that the reader in me is satisfied, I feel wholesome.
Mr Wijewardene laments in this regard:
[Policymakers ignoring the message
Though the readers had welcomed these articles, that had not been the case with policymakers. The period had covered three policy regimes, namely, the first Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, the Ranil Wickremesinghe regime of 2015 to 2019, most recently the Gotabaya Rajapaksa regime since 2019. The critical analysis provided in these articles was not to the liking of the chief policymakers associated with these regimes. There had been many counter attacks, sometimes descending to a personal level, by the architects of policy in these regimes. But the series continued without any break or departure from its original mission]
If indeed, the Politicians had the mind-structure of clever Economists, they would not be able to connect to the minds of their voters and v.v. That is the challenge in Democracy. One has to be humble to connect to the voter but one has to be clever not to be cheated by the voter.
Mr Amantha Perera presents this as follows:
[By the time Ranil Wickremesinghe replaced Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the head of state, a few who started off reporting the protests as closely and diligently as they could, ended up being part and parcel of the protesters. This was especially true of social media profile. As I said in a previous column, this may be a positive bias, but it still is a bias and a naked one at that.
counterweighed a similar bias displayed by some very senior journalists towards
those who held power. All of this is the latest
reflection of the deeply politicised nature of the media in Sri Lanka.
It also lays bare the lack of skills and aptitudes within the journalism community. Despite years of training and skills development programmes, half-a-dozen national and international journalism training organisations based in the country, the media community at times displayed debilitating mistakes in reporting the protests. ]
Jesus and Gandhi renounced at personal level - all benefits from their work. This rendered them the ‘insight’ to identify with the common beneficiary of their work. Their ‘cleverness’ in turn became confidential-higher intelligence. In Northern Sri Lanka, the practice of the son submitting his earnings to his father is, to my mind, towards this merger of current benefits with the mind of the provider of the education/skills needed to earn the money. This leads to immediate conversion of current benefits to the higher level opportunity which eventually becomes heritage/permanent opportunity.
Both have highlighted the problem of separation due to cultural diversity. When one operates at the top level of one system and the other at the bottom level, their cultures are different in the same ethnicity. Hence the protests to define that the protestors were from the opposite pole to the government. That way their world revolves around itself, on the basis of the two extremes pulling & pushing in opposite directions.
If the top sacrifices – and the bottom recognises the top as invisible Spiritual Energy, they merge to become one and the differences become invisible.
The more visible we seek to be, the more difficult politics towards self-governance would become. The reason for this is that we have in mind – those who would reward us and not ownership in common. Those driven by visible ‘effects’ would not appreciate the ‘freedom’ in ownership. Hence the separation between the voters and the government became visible. When parliament becomes a trading house, this separation is assured.
Those who share their truth through their writing work get connected to the Universal power of Truth which is self balancing. Institutional structures facilitate this merger at the higher level towards commonness of that profession – be it economics or journalism. But they would not automatically merge with the bottom.
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